David A. Paterson
|David A. Paterson|
|55th Governor of New York|
From: March 17, 2008 – December 31, 2010
|Spouse(s)||Michelle Paige Paterson|
David A. Paterson (born May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, NY) was an American politician who served as New York’s 55th governor. He earned his bachelor's degree in History from Columbia University in 1977, and completed his J.D. at Hofstra Law School in 1982. He is the first legally blind person to take the Oath of Office as Governor and New York's first African American Governor.
Paterson is married to Michelle Paige Paterson, and they have two children, Ashley and Alex. His admission on taking office that he had extramarital affairs defused the issue.
Paterson started out with very high approval ratings after he replaced disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer in March 2008. Even Republicans leaders were dancing in the aisles.
Paterson's popularity collapsed in early 2009, following his confused search for a replacement for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, and the sharp downturn in state finances as part of the Recession of 2008.
Paterson finally picked a rather conservative democrat candidate for the Senate seat, Kirsten Gillibrand, angering liberals.
With the $133 billion state budget in the red by $17.7 billion, Paterson came into conflict with public service unions who rejected his call for sacrifice. Polls in September 2009 show his unpopularity had set a new record: only 17% of New Yorkers were favorable.
President Barack Obama in Sept. 2009 contacted Paterson, asking him not to seek reelection in 2010 in that he cannot recover from his dismal political standing. In February 2010 Paterson announced that he would not seek a full term.
Paterson’s chances had been even more damaged after it was revealed that he and his troopers intimidated a woman who'd reported domestic violence against one of his top aides.
- Raymond Hernandez and Jeff Zeleny, "Obama Said to Request That Paterson Drop Campaign," New York Times Sept. 19, 2009